Where? - Shop 13/383 Keilor Road, Essendon
Price? - $26 + Delivery fee (Uber Eats)
Website? http://totospizzahouse.com.au/ (Essendon location not yet listed at time of writing)
Reviewers – Lee & Nikki
Delivery areas - Uber Eats doesn't have this info, lets just say "Essendon and surrounding suburbs"
If you grew up in the Essendon area in the 90's you would remember Toto's. Their Keilor Road location churned our quality pizzas for years before a (controversial) fire in 1998 closed their doors for good.
Well almost 20 years later Toto's has moved about a hundred meters up the road from their old digs and set up shop again. I was always a fan of Toto's as a kid, so when I saw they had re-opened I was absolutely itching to check them out once more (that, or my dermatitis was acting up again).
There are a few Toto's locations in Melbourne, One of which (Lygon St.) has been open since 1961 and claims to be Australia's first ever pizza parlour (and that's not just a marketing claim - Research suggests that it is because of Toto's that Lygon Street became the Italian restaurant mecca that it is today, and they have been inducted into the World Pizza Hall of Fame for their achievement).
Scrolling through Uber Eats looking for a feed I noticed Toto's was listed. As we discussed in our last Crossing The Road, I'm not a huge fan of Uber Eats - I've yet to have a meal delivered from them that didn't take forever to arrive and turn up mostly cold. Unfortunately I checked the other delivery services in the area and could not find Toto's listed, They only just opened and I'm hoping that this is just a temporary situation as I'd like to avoid Uber Eats as much as I can, but in the meantime I'd have to go with the only option available.
Target acquired. A bit pricey, but what the hell. 2 parmas and a 1.25L coke for $60 ... Pretty much what I'd pay in a pub, so I wasn't too torn up about it.
I placed the order and got an estimated delivery time of about 30 minutes which, surprisingly, they managed to stick to. Half an hour later I was unpacking the parmas ... Fingers crossed they would be good.
Okay ... Looks fine so far. Lets crack this bad boy open and see what we've got!
Disaster! The cheese had fused to the top of the lid in transit and everything lifted off when I opened it up. I salvaged as much as I can, reconstructed the parma as best I could, and plated it up for a glamour shot...
Despite being quite the ugly duckling after it's car ride, the schnitzel underneath the mess of toppings was actually damn tasty. A house made, pure chicken breast fillet that seemed hand crumbed with care. The crumbs were top notch - Crunchy and flavoursome. The chicken itself was pure white, thick, juicy and cooked to perfection.
As far as schnitzels go this was hands down the best home-delivered schnitzel we have had since starting these Crossing the Road delivery parmas.
The toppings, or what I could salvage of them from the lid, where also great. A generous helping of flavoursome ham topped with rich, fresh napoli sealed the deal on this fine example of a parma. Most of my cheese was lost on the trip, but what was there seemed fine as well.
As expected it could have been hotter, and losing a lot of toppings to the lid definitely didn't help with it's presentation, but as far as parmas go I was super impressed with this offering.
Compared to the stellar parma, the chips weren't great - But what delivery chips ever are? It was a small-ish serving. Well seasoned but a little over-cooked and oily for my liking. They did the job, but I won't be singing their praises.
The salad was well dressed with plenty of ingredients - A little limp after its trip on top of the parma, but fine as far as delivery salads go.
Value wise would I be happy to pay $26 again for this parma? That's a tough call. Yes it's pricey, but it was also a fine quality meal that didn't cheap out on the ingredients. Yeah, I could see myself ordering again.
I know this doesn't sound like a big statement after only #4 issues of Crossing the Road, but I'd have to say that this was hands down the best delivery parma I have ever had, and not just in review capacity for ParmaDaze.
As well as delivery Toto's also offers a dine-in option, and to be honest I regret not experiencing this parma in-house to try it at its best - Don't be surprised if we do a proper scored review of this parma in a few months time, A parma as good as this deserves the full ParmaDaze treatment.
Until then, if you live in the delivery zone definitely give this one a try.
And who knows ... If there's hope for Toto's to re-open after 20 years maybe I can still hold out hope that Melbourne's best parma of all time can return as well. Fingers crossed.